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In some WWII submarines, the sleeping room lined with bunks for the bulk of the staff, the lighting is red. Why? Because you can sleep in it easily -- it's always just red in that room because there are some day and night shifts even on a sub.

The story that I heard (from my army dad) about red lights for night work was that red lights cause less night blindness than white lights.

Wikipedia corroborates this story, but indicates that a Navy study (from the 1980's) didn't find strong support for the practice.

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